Arena and Staff*
Drum and Song*
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.AIFF for MACINTOSHES VERSION
Simply put, without a drum, there is no pow wow. The drum, consisting of the instrument and its singers, is the center of the arena and the center of attention. The drum sings song for all occasions-- from a contest song to a birthday song, the drum can provide a song for the job. The songs of today can be categorized into several fields: flag songs, memorial songs, veteran's songs, intertribal songs, contest songs, etc., Drums travel many miles to attend pow wows, and will sing for sometimes eight hours, giving their all to make the dance successful. Good drums draw the best dancers, so every pow wow committee tries to get the best drum posssible for its own pow wow.
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The physical drum is made from a wooden shell covered in rawhide. Today, cowhide is usually used although a buffalo hide head is not unheard of. The average size drum is about 26 inches in diameter and can seat about eight men around it. In the Northern style of singing, drums are smaller and are often commerical bass drums, like those used in marching bands. The sticks used to strike the drum are usually thin fiberglass rods with a leather handle and leather padded head.
There are about 10 people on an average drum-- 7 or 8 men and 2 or 3 ladies. In the southern tradition, ladies are not seated at the drum or allowed to strike it, but instead sit on the second row behind the men. The people on a drum are required to know many songs because a good drum is expected to be able to sing an entire dance without repeating a song (belive me, it's hard). A song is started by the lead singer, who does not announce what song they are about to sing but instead begins with the lead.
Today, there are many fine drums that travel the pow wow Circut, spreading their songs throughout the continent. Most drums write their own songs, a task that requires talent and blessings from above. These are the names of many fine Southern drums who travel around today and have recorded alblums :Yellowhammer (Ft. Oakland Ramblers)
The Cozads - Yellow Spotted Horse - Rose Hill - Southern Thunder- Grayhorse
To newcomers, songs can be the most puzzling aspect of a pow wow. It is not uncommon to hear a visitor say " I didn't know you were singing different songs." This is far from the truth--there are literally thousands of songs that have been composed, with more being composed every year. Every song has its unique characteristics and subtle effects. It takes some time for a newcomer to adjust to hearing the differences in songs beyond the obvious.
One of the differences between Southern style pow wows and the Northern style are the way songs are sung. Northern songs are sung in a much higher falsetto voice and follow a different format in the way they are arranged.
We would like to add new audio clips to our page from drums across the nation. If you belong to a drum or know of a drum that would like to be featured, please contact us so that we may make arrangements. This is an excellent opportunity for publicity!
There are songs written for all occasions as well as for families and individuals. The following is a listing o